Begrudgingly, I was off to the Monmouth Park thoroughbred horse race track during a Saturday afternoon in May. My wife was adamant about my attendance since it was an in-law family event. Argh!
Now, I don’t mind going to Monmouth Park. While in my very early teens, my father invited me to go with him to the track. The first item my father purchased was a race program, and in that program was so much information that I had never seen before. So many abbreviations, no columns and a language that I didn’t know. Furlong, blinkers, place, show, exacta, trifecta, the list went on and on. However, I was a fan of making money at an early age and picking horses seemed to be an easy task, right?
After many trips to the track and listening very closely to my father, I was able to disseminate the data from the race program. Looking at the length of the last races, what time the horses ran, where they finished in the last x-amount of races, the jockeys wins/losses and their race times almost made me a handicapper (lol). Alas, I was never able to place a bet, only circle the horse that I thought would win, place and show.
At or around the age of 19, I found myself back at Monmouth Park one evening. I was leaning against one of the building poles, my head buried in the race program and trying to remember what my father had taught me many years ago. I can’t remember if I won or lost that night; however, I do remember that one thing that happened. With my head buried in the program, I heard a female voice. I glanced away from my program to see a woman in front of me and she stated, “This is a very good place for you.” I glanced back at my program, then looked back up and that woman was gone. Whoa! I thought that was strange.
So, what does any of this have to do with selling?
Well, a lot of it does.
- The desire to make money. It’s my opinion that if you don’t have the desire to make the extra bucks, then sales is not the place for you.
- Learn their language is what I had to do in order to understand the data in the race programs. Understanding that language educated me with horse racing. Learning their language holds true when working with clients from different vertical markets. Architects, Engineers, Law, Health all have their own unique glossary of words and terms.
- Listening, probably the most important thing I did with my father at the track. I was an excellent listener. Same goes for selling: If you’re not listening to the client, then you’re not going to hear those pain points nor their needs. Plain and simple, let the client do most of the talking.
- Repeating the process, by going to the track many times I was able to become more knowledgeable about horse racing.
Years ago, I picked a vertical market that I wanted to know more about. That vertical market was AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction). I consistently made only cold calls for that market. After a period of time, and with some listening, researching and learning their language, I was and still am the guru of wide format devices for the AEC market.
Back to the races…just about 12 years ago, I visited Monmouth Park for the first time since I was 19 or so. You bet big, you win big, no $2 bets for me; however there are no $100 bets, either.
My fellow sales buddy and I arrived about 20 minutes or so before the first race. I had my race program but not enough time to try and remember the language I once knew. I focused on the second race, picked three horses and made a $20 straight trifecta bet and $10 each on win, place and show. I hit and I hit pretty big to the tune of $3,700. I then left the race track…no more betting from me.
One or two years later, I was back at the track with the same person. We arrived somewhat late, and only had a short time to look at the second race. By the time I picked my straight trifecta, I didn’t have enough time to get additional cash. I had $10 in my pocket and placed it on a straight trifecta bet. Well, I won again. Not as large as the last one; however, it was a cool $1,800 or so. I then left the track again.
Making a long story short, I missed two straight trifecta bets by one place each. I blame my losses on my distractions from the family event. I believe if I was not distracted, I would have won on both accounts.
But, isn’t that what sales is all about? You need to have confidence that you can win every time out. Of course if you don’t, you don’t get down, you just go out and make yourself better!